Scottish Premiership play-off final first leg: Rangers face Motherwell
Championship promotion hopefuls Rangers will collide with Scottish Premiership relegation battlers Motherwell at Ibrox in the first leg of their play-off final encounter, with the visitors hoping to end an abysmal winless head-to-head record in a crucial meeting.
Gers boss Stuart McCall, who faces his former club here, will hope his side can continue their supreme dominance in this fixture, with their opposition failing to secure a victory in the last 39 match-ups, a dismal run which incredibly stretches back to Boxing Day in 2002 when James McFadden struck the only goal.
The hosts are even-money with Coral to secure a home triumph, with their manager aiming to build upon his side’s unbeaten run against Motherwell and gain further momentum, after edging past Hibernian on aggregate in their semi-final matches.
“I managed Motherwell at Rangers a lot of times and they haven’t got a good record at Ibrox,” stated McCall. “We’re aware of that. In fact, in my last game, we managed 0-0, which was the best result they’d had for a wee while.”
Rangers toppled Queen of the South 3-2 on aggregate in the first round of the play-offs, and struggled towards the end of both clashes with Hibs, meaning latest opponents Motherwell could capitalise on possible fatigue (14/5 to triumph).
“We’ve come through four really tough games and the lads are shattered,” continued McCall. “There’s no celebrating because we’ve done nothing yet and, more importantly, they’re too tired. But we’ve got what everyone talks about – momentum. And we’ve got togetherness.”
Visiting boss Ian Baraclough believes his side can cause an upset, though, with the Steelmen desperately fighting to retain their top-flight status.
“We’ll go there with a belief that we can come away with something to go for in the second leg,” claimed Baraclough. “There will be a fantastic atmosphere at Ibrox and I want that to bring the best out of our players. Rangers are a big club but we want to give them a problem.”
Gers attacker Nicky Clark will be a threat to Motherwell, with the forward hoping to reach double figures for the campaign and is 6/1 to open proceedings, while the away side’s key danger could be former Celtic striker Scott McDonald. The former Bhoys frontman may have a point to prove against his old rivals and is 2/1 to get on the scoresheet anytime.